Street delicacies drive appetite
For a long time, I never considered street food as something I would be interested in. Well, from a distance, I would admire the delicacies, of course, they are pleasing to look at and the aroma is endearing, but that was just as far as it went. Few years down the line, I can say I’m addicted.
A day rarely lapses before I fill my stomach with an eye-catching steak and other street delicacies, and if it does, chances are it would be my first stop the next day. Vendors say that creativity that goes into cooking these foods is the secret that attracts the never-ending customers.
The street delicacies, include smocha (smokie and chapati) with salsa (kachumbari), grilled kebab, barbeque (mshikaki), boiled eggs, rolex, chips mwitu, viazi karai (bhajia), samosas, hot dog, and boiled and roasted maize. They come in various taste, sizes and in different combinations. I will elaborate on my favourites, but remember the street has got plenty of delicacies
Cravings and addiction
The choice of picking one type of these foods depends on the customer’s preference. I consume almost all of the foods, it only depends on my financial status, or my craving at the moment.
Smocha is at the top of my list, my favourite. The golden colour of smokie pulls the eye and arouses the appetite. It’s split into half and kachumbari, tomato sauce and some salt added onto it. It’s then wrapped in a chapati to make a cone-shape and more sauce and chili is added if you like. It’s a bomb of flavours if you ask me. It’s wrapped with parchment paper so you grab it and enjoy. It’s a perfect snack to have when hanging out with friends and have no time to eat in a hotel or kibandas. That’s not all, smocha is pocket friendly going for as low as Sh30 you are good to go.
Great display and tantalising aroma
Barbeque (Mshikakis) seconds my list. The tasty chevon or beef sprinkled with tomato sauce and other vegetables is scrumptious. Wooden skewers make the experience fastidious. I was skeptical about it until I tasted it in the company of a friend and from that day, I often visit the stall to satisfy my cravings. The way mshikakis are displayed in the grilling wire is indeed arresting let alone the aroma gushing out from the grill. The steak is mouthwatering and worth eating over and over again.
Rolex is another one of my favourite street snacks. While eating chapati without a beverage or soup causes a choking sensation, rolex solves that problem and can make you an avid consumer. The first time I ate it, a vendor chided me for eating smocha everyday and ignoring another one of her delicious offerings. I agreed to wait for a few minutes as she took her time to prepare the snack, with just three ingredients, an egg omelette and vegetables wrapped in a chapati. It seemed that she had a plan to make me addicted to rolex, especially a hot one because one bite into it took me a back!. I call it the mighty rolex.
Viazi karai (bhajia) is another street food that I rarely eat. I don’t know why, but my guilty pleasure is loving crunchy snacks. My friends are the reason I eat the dish.
Their influence won here. This one here is a Sh50 deliciousness away from my mouth. Prepared with potatoes as its main ingredient, dipped in a paste of red chilli powder, salt lemon juice, turmeric powder coriander and all-purpose wheat flour. I like it served with kachumbari.
Eggs like no other
Boiled eggs qualifies to my list of faves too. I love eating boiled eggs whether I cook it myself or on the streets. However, it baffles me that I find boiled eggs from the streets sweeter than the one I make in my house. Some of my friends would jokingly say that if you want eggs to taste exactly like the one in the street, you should boil them, put it in a bucket and carry it around the compound as the vendors do! Jokes aside. These eggs are so delicious, especially when served with kachumbari, tomato sauce and a pinch of salt. They call it mayai pasua. It’s extremely cheap at Sh20 or Sh 25, you won’t need to break a bank to enjoy.
Chips mwitu closes my list. It derives its name from the from Swahili word “mwitu” meaning wild. This is because it’s purchased from the road side. I normally consume it in the evening as I go home. The experience is ecstatic, especially when you board a matatu and eat it along the journey chewing one piece at a time as your fellow passengers sneak their glances at you. It’s recipe is as easy as its name suggests. Just peel the potatoes, clean, cut into stick-like shapes and deep fry until it’s cooked. Served with kachumbari and tomato sauce. For my case, vendors pack chips mwitu in transparent plastic bags and hand me two to three toothpicks to act as a fork. I like to add kachumbari, tomatoes sauce or chilis. I love Kachumbari that’s why it punctuate almost all the street foods that I have mentioned.